Anthony O'Shea

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Stag's Take - Gameweek 4

Thursday, August 30, 2018


Stag’s Take – Gameweek 4

 

 

Gameweek 3 served as a timely wake-up call to FPL managers who have ignored the staggering returns from defenders so far this season. Somehow, Benjamin Mendy picked up two bonus points in a 1-1 draw, Andy Robertson recorded another BAPs-laden clean sheet, and course Marcos Alonso nabbed two assists to negate the Newcastle’s unlikely goal and the disappearance of his clean sheet. In an attacking sense, template forwards from Man City, Arsenal, and Liverpool were quiet with the exception of the ever-reliable Mo Salah. Highly-owned players whom most of us have mentally attributed to ghost teams did find the net, with Harry Kane’s Monday night haul doing particular damage to the shade of peoples’ arrows. For the Englishman, it was his second consecutive return – his shadow looms large over FPL managers. Once he starts firing, all sorts of lunacy will be visible in the FPL community as people leap find space for Sir Harold.

 

 

Replacing Richarlison

 

Last weekend, the FPL community as a whole was truly trolled for the first time in the campaign as Richarlison saw red for a petulant headbutt against Bournemouth. I was one of the raft of managers who had only just acquired the Brazilian in the face of his staggering efficiency and surging ownership in the wake of the first two gameweeks. What a fool I felt like! For the uninitiated, a red card for violent conduct yields a three game ban for domestic fixtures for a player. Owing to Everton’s participation in one Carabao Cup game during the ban period, the starlet will miss just two PL games. However it is still an FPL travesty as his price is dropping rapidly. As I write this on Thursday, he has had one price fall so far and just over 800,000 sales. That figure may well reach a million by GW4’s kick-off at the King Power on Saturday; it is almost a foregone conclusion that he will drop again, wiping out any profits earned by buyers at 6.5.

 

So who to get in?

 

The most obvious move is sideways to Richarlison’s teammate Theo Walcott (6.7).  The Englishman scored for the second consecutive week to help Everton to an eventual 2-2 draw with Bournemouth at the weekend. His price has already risen twice, highlighting just how popular this move is. I have a word of warning though – Walcott’s scoring is unsustainable. The 29 year-old has had just four shots so far this term, an average of one every 66 minutes. N’Golo Kanté has had the same number of attempts although the Englishman’s xG is superior. With all that said and done, it can be argued that Everton’s upcoming match-ups with Huddersfield and West Ham make attacking cover from the Toffees a must – I accept that. No two sides have a higher expected goals conceded, and no side has looked worse than either of them so far with the possible exception of Burnley.

 

Even with worse fixtures and the threat of substitution around the hour mark, Chelsea’s Pedro is a far better option in my opinion. His xG is better (0.91 v 0.85), he manages a shot on goal every 26 minutes rather than Wally’s 66 minutes, and he plays for a much better team who are starting to show good form. The return of Eden Hazard to Chelsea’s starting team can only help the Spaniard too. Remember, one of Pedro’s defining qualities is his finishing ability. I wish I hadn’t sold him on my Wildcard and blocked myself from adding more Blues by using Hudson-Odoi as a 4.4 enabler. He would be my highest recommendation to replace Richarlison.

 

I have plumped up for Watford’s Roberto Pereyra (6.1). What a start to the season he has had. The Argentine has already got three goals to his name for the in-form Hornets, and looks to be their key man under Javi Gracia. He has already recorded eight shots, all of which have come from inside the box (Walcott has just 3) and whilst his xG is lower than the Everton man’s; I’m happy that he has passed my eye test with flying colours to balance that fact out. Many may be put off by the usually daunting tasks of encounters with Spurs and Manchester United (post-international break when there may be doubts over United’s internationals) but given Watford’s form so far, I’m not too nervous. Let’s hope he can deliver again.

 

Another player who suddenly came into vogue on Monday was Tottenham’s Lucas Moura (7.1) – two goals against Manchester United will do that! Even after scoring three goals in two games and after a fruitful pre-season, doubts still nag me about Moura. He hasn’t flourished for a couple of seasons owing to falling of favour at PSG and then warming the bench for Poch last term. I’m going to wait and see for one more week at least.

 

 

Wildcard tips

 

I know many managers have pulled the trigger on their Wildcard this week, so what I’m going to do is briefly set out players I think are must-owns in FPL right now.


First and foremost is the holy trinity; Mendy, Alonso, and a Liverpool defender. In the case of the latter it is preferable if your selection is 24 years-old, Scottish, and left-footed.

 

Mendy seems to have the safest berth in City’s starting eleven right now save for Ederson, and his returns already speak for themselves. His constant moves high up the left side in blue are reminders of his threat via a pass, cross, and sometimes a shot. When Pep speaks of a player as highly as he oft-does Mendy, and explains that he can’t set his team out to attack the way they do now without the Frenchman, the World Cup winner’s importance is clear. Ensure you have him.

 

Marcos Alonso’s marauding runs down the left and dereliction of duty in defence are nothing new to FPL managers, though Maurizio Sarri’s use of Alonso even further up the pitch (according to heat and touch maps) was something none of us had anticipated before the season started. Normal service has resumed for the Spaniard, who already leads the league’s defenders for touches in the box and shots.

 

Andy Robertson is by far my favourite Liverpool defender for FPL. His discipline is good, he gets forward and contributes in attack, making a number of key passes per game, but he isn’t so wasteful that his attempts going forward negate his chances of picking up BAPs. The latter is actually true; it’s helping. I have seen a lot of arguments in favour of his compatriot on the opposite flank Trent Alexander-Arnold, but what I think people are failing to alight upon is his yellow card per-game so far. Because of ill-discipline, he is yet to pick up a bonus point for any of Liverpool’s clean sheets. Going forward, his abilities are clear - especially from free-kicks, but Robertson is 100% worth the additional expenditure. An added argument in favour of the Scot is the risk of rotation which hangs over TAA. Nathaniel Clyne is an able replacement for Trent, and a very useful player for Jurgen Klopp to have fit and available. He is less likely to put effort into building Alberto Moreno’s match fitness in my view. As I am such a TAA-sceptic, I believe VVD is your second-best option if you want cover for the Reds. Note that Liverpool’s fixtures are now about to take a turn for the worst as they face three fellow top-six sides in their next five PL games.

 

In midfield, Mo Salah is still the only player I think merits the “must-have” tag. Eden Hazard’s underlying stats are looking extremely promising and we are now certain he is on penalty duty. He is worth a punt for those wildcarding as Chelsea’s fixtures look great and the Belgian winger is central to Sarriball: London Edition.

 

Up front, Sergio Aguero stands head and shoulders above every other player. City stumbled against Wolves in GW3, but still the Argentinian striker was extremely dangerous in the stalemate, hitting the post once, recording four shots, and three key passes. It was nice to see Wolves finally getting a just-reward for a good performance. As the underlying stats had flagged, their defence held firm in the face of relentless pressure from City and highlighted how unlucky they had been in the early weeks. Rui Patricio (4.5) and Ryan Bennett (4.0) should be considered if your Wildcard is active. Their attack is also coming together – Neves, Jiménez, and even Jota are starting to look dangerous. Traore built on an eye-catching appearance off the bench on Saturday with a good Carabao Cup performance during the week; he will surely chisel out a starting position soon.

 

 

Captaincy Corner

 


Sergio Aguero (Newcastle H)

 

To be honest, I think there’s only one option this weekend. Few performances stick out in the minds of FPL managers like Aguero’s five goal haul against the Toon a few seasons ago. He has 14 goals and three assists against Newcastle in 11 PL appearances since coming to England. After a hat-trick in GW2 and lavish praise from Pep, it goes without saying that he has the form to deserve our trust.

 

Newcastle on the other hand look a bit bedraggled. Last week’s move to three at the back to try and suffocate Chelsea eventually proved unsuccessful and drew a lot of poor press on Rafa. It also caused a fallout out with centre-back Jamaal Lascelles. His usual partner Florian Lejeune is injured. It really looks like the perfect storm, doesn’t it?

 

 

Eden Hazard (Bournemouth H)

 

Looking at Eden’s stats is a bit misleading given that his twice came off the bench and once played a Newcastle team who allowed Jorginho make more passes than their whole team combined. However, the stats do look promising. The Belgian is making himself a threat to the opposition’s net whilst also threading passes for teammates. He has already nabbed two assists and created two big chances for teammates. His xG is low because many of his shots come from outside the box, though that’s because many attempts come from outside the box as opposed to anything else. Many were blocked by Newcastle defenders.

 

Bournemouth have had a bright start to the season but they remain a side we would view as prone to conceding goals. Last week Everton tore them apart on the counter with 10 men, and perhaps the vulnerability to pace which undermined that will come to light again against the Blues.

 

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Cardiff A)

 

Let’s try this again…

 

Auba’s season hasn’t taken off yet, but the ball has fallen to him in great positions taken a trajectory which missed the goal entirely on a few occasions. Against West Ham he missed a few half-chances but overall he flattered to deceive. Against Warnock’s Cardiff, maybe he’ll do better? I never thought that by GW4, recommending Auba against Cardiff would be a real punt; but that’s the truth of it.

 

 

Follow the entire Rotoworld Premier League team on Twitter: Neal | Steve | Andrew | Sean | Stag (me) | Ben | Galin | Nik |

 

 

Stag has been providing #FPL Tips since July 2015 and has been a contributor for Rotoworld.com since August 2016. He is a self-proclaimed wannabe fantasy football genius, a student, and die-hard tea enthusiast.

 






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